How To Improve Your Video Game Pitch - Part 2

Recently I wrote an introduction to How To Improve Your Pitch for  your game and I thought it worth writing a little bit more ahead of E3 Expo 2010. I’ll follow on with a little more detail today.

I covered the basics yesterday but I’ve been thinking about this quite a lot today and I wanted to share some more things that will hopefully prove useful.

Funding

When you’re pitch is ready, ensure that it’s appropriately funded because you can guarantee that the person you’re pitching to will be forming a cost expectation based on platform, genre, target audience, feature set and quality level. When listening to pitches, it’s disappointing to get to the funding part of any pitch and the money requested just doesn’t stack up with the proposition.

The cause for concern for most developers is that they think that the price is going to be too high and frighten someone off but there’s a worse scenario where it’s actually too little. The listener will be asking themselves if the funding supports an appropriate team size to make the features and quality level your pitching and also what’s expected for your game. The listener will have experience of receiving pitches by multiple teams to figure out the market value for a similar game and also have access to how much they should be paying for your game and judge you against that

An example would be if you pitch a game that costs £500k, and the listener really thinks it warrants £2m based on experience then there’s a gap somewhere and it implies you don’t understand what you’re getting in for or your expecting to deliver something quite small. Essentially you’re getting in too deep.

Inexperienced publishers will often agree to this on a cost cutting exercise but the production often dies due to insufficient effort and features.

The obvious counter to this is the usual point where your costs are too high based on expectations. This can come about simply because you’re greedy or worse, you want to make a game that simply won’t ever recoup it’s costs as the potential sales doesn’t exist to support the funding required. A good example here would be a PSP title that costs £5m. It may be awesome, and a killer game, but not enough people own a PSP, and are interested in your genre to ever recoup the cost.

The ‘cost too high’ situation is the better one to be in as you can always negotiate a better price, change the feature set and generally adapt the game, which you can’t do if you’ve under offered in the 1st place; a publisher is hardly likely to say “Yes we want it, and we’re going to pay you more!”

Slide content

I just wanted to follow up on the previous article by reinforcing the importance of making sure that what people see, and what you say, matches up. Make sure the images support the words you’re saying, don’t show a picture of a desert when you’re saying “set in a lush world”, don’t say “realistic visuals” when there’s concept art on screen.

I think I’ve said this before but it’s a cardinal sin to read the deck, i.e., to put loads of text against bullet points and just read them. You can be damn sure that the listener is reading something different to what you’re saying and that simply messes with their head.

Don’t use sound! Or at least, don’t rely on sound. Presenting to at an expo or conference is usually done in a loud noisy environment so your lovely audio will be missed.

Keep it simple, make sure every support your words.

Speaking

  1. Smile
  2. Relax
  3. Empty your pockets - to stop you jingling
  4. Put the pen down - to stop you fiddling
  5. Smile
  6. Relax

So, your pitch is ready and you’ve waited months to get to this moment, everyone back in the office is depending on you to get this right. So, you set off at a sprint, stumble your words and no-one gets to absorb what you’re saying.

In general, you’ll be speaking too fast.

When speaking, talk slowly and…deliberately and…enunciate clearly…to give people time…to understand the points…your making.

There’s a reason why politicians to speak as slowly as they do, this enables people to take absorb your points, make notes and mentally process the info as it comes in. You can often tell how things are going by watching the body language of your audience.

Enjoy it!

This is a simple tip, enjoy your pitch, it can be a fun experience and something you’ll get immense satisfaction out of.

As always, if there’s something more you’d like to know, post a comment or contact me directly.

Further Reading

Powerpoint slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations: The Art and Science of Presentation Design - Book Public Speaking How to Develop Self-confidence and Influence People by Public Speaking (Personal Development) - Book Speak Clearly - External Article a repository of Public Speaking help - External Article A nice concise article on public speaking - External Article

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